Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Iowa Children's Museum

Calling all fellow Iowan moms! If you have not visited the Iowa Children's Museum in Coralville, Iowa then you really are missing out. The museum is in the Coralville Mall outside of Iowa City, IA off of I-80. Admission is $6 for ages 1-59 and $5 for seniors 60+. Infants under 1 are FREE. Also, the last Friday of every month is FREE admission as part of Family Fun Night in the mall. If you decide you love the museum as much as we do, get the Family Pass. It is $100/family (includes 2 adults and all children) and comes with several discount offers. So for our family of 4 (with our baby under age of 1) we simply must go 6 times a year to meet that price. That is only 1 time every other month, which is a great value!

Regular admission or the family pass covers a wide variety of activities for children of all ages. Some of the activities kids can do are:
  • See real fish and turtles

  • Put on their own puppet show with TONS of puppets

  • Build with legos and blocks

  • Visit the construction room

  • Go down slides upstairs or through tunnels

  • Plant and harvest their own "crops" in the farm room

  • Visit the motion room with all things related to physics

  • Play at the Thomas the Train table

  • Visit the special exhibit room that changes annually

  • Read books or listen to stories in the reading area

  • See several shows that vary month by month

  • Do MANY kinds of arts and crafts projects

  • Build their own "pizza" in the pizza eatery

  • Grocery "shop" in the mini grocery shopping center

  • Pretend to be a doctor, dentist, or ambulance driver at the health center

  • And much much more!

To learn more visit http://www.theicm.org/ Click on the membership tab to see all the details about the family pass. Also note that the children museum is not open on Mondays and has special hours that are different from the rest of the mall on the other days.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Barbecue Season is Here!

Tonight the warm weather finally got to me and I cooked up some great summer barbecue items. We ate a yummy potato salad and oh so good turkey sloppy joes. Both recipes are really great for graduation parties, showers, and grill nights. Enjoy!

Potato Salad

You will need:
A large 10 lb bag of potatoes, I use russet but some like red potatoes just as well
8 eggs
Mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Sweet relish
1/2 an onion, very finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Alternative seasonings--dill, paprika, etc.

  1. Bring to boil a large pot of water. Add potatoes one by one carefully (unpeeled or cut). Boil for 20-25 minutes. Potatoes should be tender and skin should come off easily. Drain water and let cool.
  2. In a smaller pot place eggs in gently. Cover with 1 inch of COLD water. Add a pinch of salt or 1 tsp. of Vinegar. Place on high heat for 15-20 minutes. When eggs are fully hard-boiled switch to a bowl filled with ice water OR alternatively set pot in sink and run very cold water over, draining hot water from pot. Let eggs cool.
  3. When potatoes are cooled, peel with a potato peeler. Dice potatoes into pieces of desired size. I like 1 cm x 1 cm cubes. Place into large bowl and set aside.
  4. Once eggs are cooled, peel them. To remove shells the easiest hit eggs on bottom of counter or sink peeling bottom first. Rinse under water.
  5. Dice up eggs. Add 2 cups of mayonnaise, 1/8 cup of dijon mustard, 2 tsp. vinegar, 2 tsp. parsley and 1 tsp of sweet relish. Stir together.
  6. Add mixture to potatoes using a spatula. Add in onions. Mix together. If too thick add 1 tsp of water or vinegar at a time to thin out. If too thin, add more mayonnaise until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your preference.
  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Keep refrigerated when not in use in air tight container for optimum freshness.
Turkey Sloppy Joes (I double this recipe)

You will need:
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bbq sauce
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 an onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper (optional)
Ground Pepper

  1. Brown ground turkey in skillet. Once meat is no longer pink, season with ground pepper. Put on medium-low heat and saute onions stirring every couple of minutes.
  2. Mix all other items in a small saucepan, stirring frequently. Bring to a simmer. Then pour into skillet with meat and onion. Stir well together so all meat is coated in sauce. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Serve as a sandwich on toasted bun or texas style thick toast. You can also add shredded cheese and lettuce. Great for reheating up and very easy to do in a crockpot on low heat settings.

Walmart Reusable Grocery Bags

Our family officially went "green" this weekend.

My husband and I agreed to buy our first reusable shopping bags at Walmart. I was surprised to find that they are actually very durable and have lots more room than your average plastic bag. In just one blue tote we were able to fit to large bags of Ruffles chips, bread, english muffins, and hot dog buns. And there was still plenty of room left for lots more!

We figure we use on average 8+ plastic grocery bags every time we go shopping for groceries (not even including basic toiletries or non-grocery shopping items). And if we go shopping on average 4 times a month that is 32 bags minimum a month and 384 in a year!

Now the trick is to keep them on hand so we can use them each time. We stored all 4 bags in the trunk of our van for when we go grocery shopping. I can't wait to use them the next time we go grocery shopping.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hyvee 3 Day Sale

Today was a great day to pick up some basics at Hyvee! A LOT of items were very cheap in their ad this week. This week was supposed to be our "no spend week" but Hyvee has a 3 day sale going on thru tomorrow (Saturday). Since I had to run in to pick up some necessities anyway I went ahead and did some light shopping. Plus, we have company coming into town this weekend so we wanted to get some meat to grill out since the weather is just so amazing today! Hard to believe it is almost 90 degrees as I type this!

Here is what we got for under $55

2 gallons of Country Fare skim milk @ $2.25 each
1 Hyvee sour cream @ 58 cents w/ in-ad coupon
1 Hyvee strawberry yogurt @ $1.77
1 Country Fare cottage cheese @ $1.48
1 Hyvee eggs @ 97 cents

2 Jacks frozen pizzas @ 1.99 each
Grocery & Pantry Items
6 Taco seasoning mixes for at 3 for $1 = $2
1 Hyvee White Sandwich bread @ $1.18
8 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese @ 48 cents each

Fresh green beans for 99 cents/lb
2 lemons @ 2 for 59 cents
Oranges for 69 cents/lb

Chicken Family Value Pack @ 97 cents/lb
Ground Turkey 2 for $3
3 Ribeyes @ 5.99 each

They were sold out of their 3 for $1 baked beans and Kraft Singles for $1.99. But it was still a good trip for us. Next week is another "no spend" grocery week and we are going to try and stick to basic items again. Barring no amazing deals you won't see me heading out anywhere for groceries! :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I love Hotslings!

Seriously I don't know what I did without this product when my first son was little! It is so awesome. I can pop the baby in the sling and be free to do dishes, vacuum, and cook. It honestly has kept my house running these days! It comes in different sizes and you can find the sizing directions and wearing guide online.

I have the Tokyo print Everyday Collection sling. I love it!

Go to http://www.hotslings.com/ for more information!

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's For Dinner Monday!

It was a bit chilly today so we cooked up so comfort foods today. There is nothing like Mexican Goulash and Cornbread so we made big batches of both! It was so yummy!!!

Here are the recipes and some pictures:

1 chopped up green pepper
1/2 chopped up white/yellow onion
3 Roma Tomatoes, seeds washed out, diced
1 lb ground beef
Mexican seasoning (I use a liberal dash of Emeril's Southwest Seasoning)
Dash of Garlic (if using fresh-1 clove)
1 can (16 oz) petite diced (crushed can also work) tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can corn (drained)
2 cups of elbow macaroni
1. Heat up olive oil in skillet. When ready brown beef in LARGE skillet.
2. In a large pot bring water to a boil, add elbow macaroni.
3. Add to skillet pepper, onions, and fresh tomatoes to browned beef. Season. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Vegetables should be well-sauteed.
4. Reduce to low heat and add remaining ingredients to skillet. Heat up in skillet for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside when done (all items should be well cooked and hot).
5. Drain macaroni in strainer. Return to pot once cooled. Pour skillet mixture into pot and fold items together so noodles and meat and veggie sauce are well-mixed.
6. Serve warm or cold.

2 packets of Betty Crocker Corn Meal Mix
1/2 cup of cornmeal or whole wheat flour
2 spoonfuls of sour cream
2 Eggs
1/2 cup of Milk
4 tbsp of butter (melted)
1 can of creamed corn
Colby Jack or Cheddar Cheeses (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11x11 baking dish with non-stick spray or Crisco.
2. Mix together all ingredients except shredded cheese. Do not over mix, should have dry crumbles.
3. Pour into pan. At this point you can lightly sprinkle over the shredded cheeses if you would like. Bake in oven for 15-20 minute until golden brown.
4. When its done use a knife around the edges of the baking dish to "cut out" bread. Flip immediately over a cutting board (so corn stays evenly distributed and keeps it moist. Remove from pan completely and let cool for at least 15-20 minutes or until cool.
5. Cut and serve.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

BOGO 1/2 off Shorts @ Gap Kids and Baby Gap

We are set for this spring and summer as far as apparel but for those of you that still need to get out and buy some shorts for you kids, Gap has a great promotion right now on shorts. When you buy 1 pair of shorts you can get your 2nd pair of equal or lesser value for 1/2 off! The offer is limited to Gap Kids and Baby Gap lines. However this is really great for older kids if you need shorts for school uniforms or if you just love Gap's toddler and baby denim collection like I do!

One more option is that some of the 2 for $20 collections seem to be included in the offer online so you might be able to knock that down to 2 for $15 instead!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kohl's Cash April 22-27!

That's right! All of you that love to shop Kohl's will be happy to hear that Kohl's Cash is back April 22nd-April 27th both in-store and online. The redemption period runs April 28th-May 6th. Also, they have some great clearance offers so if you have been waiting for a good sale this is you chance to do some shopping and get a deal. Happy Shopping!


I had to share this amazing offer from Restaurant.com! Right now they are offering an additional 70% off gift certificates to local restaurants. Use the code: FEAST to get 70% on the gift certificates. The offer is good for a limited time.

We used it to buy$25 gift certificates at $10. We bought 4 total and with the additional 70% off we got $100 in GC's for $12!!! The best part is they are to my favorite local restaurant! Their are some restrictions on each restaurant but it ends up being a good deal. For the restaurant we picked you have to spend $35, have a 18% gratuity, and the gift card is not good towards alcohol.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Designer Floral Kimono! So Cute!

During my free time I love to find cute baby clothes. Check out this kimono style romper at Asian Baby Style! This is so cute for little kids. Its only available in 3-6 months and 6-12 months in a floral pattern but they have lots of other cute Asian designs on their website.
To find this product go to: http://www.asianbabystyle.com/asian_baby_clothes.htm

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to freeze strawberries!

What is more enjoyable in spring than fresh strawberries! We bought LOTS of super cheap strawberries recently at HyVee. And this week they are selling a 4 lb package for $4.68. So here is how you can make those strawberries last for you to use year long:

Step 1: Wash strawberries in cold water and use paper towel to pat dry. I also let mine drain in a strainer over the sink for 5 minutes. Make sure to toss or use any that show any sign of major discoloration or damage--the freshest kind work best. Then use a knife to remove the tops, stems, and leaves.

Step 2: Place berries on a baking sheet, cut side down so that they lay flat. They should be close together but not touching each other. For an easy clean up place nonstick wax paper on the baking sheet.

Step 3: Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until well chilled, then transfer sheets to the freezer for 6 hours or overnight.

Step 4: After they have been frozen you can remove the berries from the baking pan and place them into a freezer proof ziploc bag or airtight freezer container.

Step 5: Mark container with the date you froze or bought them.

TIP: Strawberries last up to 1 year after freezing if done immediately, but I recommend no longer than 6 months. They are really great for smoothies among other things!

Kmart Double Coupon Event--Davenport, IA

Kmart is offering double and triple coupons again at select locations around the US. I didn't believe it myself so I emailed customer service to find out if it was true. Unfortunately the locations are limited in my state. However my husband happens to be traveling through the one city that week so I am going to make him pop in if there are any good deals with matching coupons to use.
Here is the email customer service sent to me:
Thank you for contacting Kmart regarding the Kmart Double Coupon Event. We appreciate you interest in this promotion.
Our next double coupon event starts on 4/19/09 and will run until 4/25/09 . The following IA store is participating: Davenport

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EASY 1 Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Dinner

We made this yummy chicken and rice combo tonight. It was delicious and super easy to do.

1 Family Size pkg of Chicken Drumsticks (2-3 lbs)
1 can of Swanson chicken soup stock (I used garlic flavored)
2 pkgs of Uncle Bens 6 oz. boxes of wild rice (any flavors work)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
Assorted Seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, emeril's original essence, etc)

What I did was combine all of these ingredients in a covered baking pot for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

I placed everything but the chicken in and stirred it up well with a spoon. Then I laid the chicken in and seasoned it how I like it but you can also use your own favorites. I then used the same spoon to pour some of the sauce over the chicken a couple times. I checked on it every 20 minutes to stir the rice and flip the chicken. I baked it for just over an hour but if you use closer to 2 lbs instead of the 3 we used it will be done right at 1 hour.

Hope you enjoy!

Weekly Groceries for under $55

Cooking at home this month has made me much better at grocery shopping! We have not dropped a dime to eat out since March 31st with the exception of Sunday night on our long drive home from Easter weekend. This week I spent under $55 on a total of 37 items at HyVee. My total was $54.76 with tax and it included:

1 dozen eggs
1/2 gallon orange juice
2 4 packs of Imperial margarine sticks
2 pkgs of Birdseye frozen peas
1 pkg of frozen spinach
4 Jack's frozen pizzas
4 cans cream style corn
4 cans green beans
1 loaf of Sarah Lee white bread
2 boxes of Stove Top chicken stuffing
1 gallon skim milk
1 Roberts sour cream
1 Kraft Velveeta cheese
4 pkgs of California strawberry
3 lb pkg of baby carrots
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 lbs roma tomatoes
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Chicken Drumsticks
1 lb ground beef

Not bad! Normally I would have to buy at least 1 more gallon of milk but since we were out of town for the weekend, we still had a gallon left to use. I'm enjoying this challenge this month of cooking at home and trying to cut down on grocery costs. I have been trying lots of great new recipes and searching sale ads for the best prices. Its been quite the fun quest so far! I think we might try to make this a regular thing for our family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

DSW Clearance Event

DSW has a promotion for 30% off all clearance thru next Monday, April 13th, 2009. Use the code SPRING30 to save.

Also, DSW will give you free shipping when you spend $29 or more. Use the code FSDSW.

Bonus tip: sign up for their DSW rewards card and get a coupon for $10 off your next purchase and receive special offers.

Shop now at: http://www.dsw.com/

How to create & maintain an ORGANIZED coupon book!

I recently redid my coupon book. Here is a few tricks of how to keep couponing as simple as possible for your next trip out to the store:

1) Create a coupon book: For beginners start with a mini file fax arranged by type of coupons you most frequently use. I started with Target coupons, BRU coupons, and common baby products. For the more advanced couponer or grocery couponer--use a 3 ring binder or very large file fax. Use clear baseball card holders to contain your coupons.

2) Decide how to organize your coupons: Organize your coupons and divide them up into categories or groups by expiration date, brand name, product type, or by store name. If you have LOTS, alphabetize your coupons. I use a few of these strategies. First, I separate store brand coupons from my manufacturer coupons. Then I alphabetize each category. Within each letter I group together items by brand name. So for instance my target coupons are grouped A-Z and on the "C" page I have all my Clorox branded products grouped together.

3) Utilize folders: For when you don't have time put your coupons where they belong, slide coupons into a closeable pencil bag or folder. Then devote 1 hour a week to "maintaining" your coupon book. This will also allow for time to throw out expired coupons. I also have a folder for random coupons. This is because I receive TONS of emails with coupon codes to retailers. If something interests me I print it out and put it in my book for just in case I need it. By doing this I can keep my mailbox from getting too full of retailer emails, but I can still enjoy the special offers they send out. Also, use a folder or the front pocket to keep store ads incase you need to refer to it while at the store.

4) Store your coupon book wisely: To store my coupon book, I like to use a tote bag. I have one bag set aside next to my purse for when I walk out the door to go shopping. Also, you can hang it on a hook next to your keys by your main entryway. I also keep a spot in between my front seat clear for my tote bag to easily fit into next to my purse. This way my coupons are not getting in my way at home or in my car.

5) Keep what you need with your book: I keep a pair of scissor and a grocery pad and pen with my coupon book. If I need to cut a coupon out on the fly I have it right there. The pen and paper is for me to write out a makeshift list if I am on the go. Also, its a good idea to have a calculator if you are using coupons to budget.

6) Don't shop without a plan: Flips through advertised sales in your newspaper ads as well as online. Once you have a list of deals you would like to get, you can then from there check your coupons. Also be sure to check blogs and websites like couponmom.com for additional special deals or ways to save you more money.

7) Make your grocery list functional: After you have sorted through your coupons write up your grocery list. Instead of just listing the item though, list with it the brand name and the specific of the coupon. For example if you have a coupon for $2 off/4 cans of Progresso microwaveable soups write: Buy 4 PROGRESSO microwaveables *Use coupon* instead of soups. Also be sure to include sales prices if they are applicable.

8) Still frustrated with your coupon book? Create a table of contents! I have a cheat sheet at the front of my coupon book that tells me where I can find something. If you would like you can type up an alphabetical list to tell you wear to find what you are looking for.

Get this free download from Walmart!

Dealseekingmom originally posted this and its a really neat deal so I have to share it with all of you too! Walmart will allow you to download Still Feels Good by Rascal Flats for FREE. Its a good song too! I really love it! And make sure you check out the rest of her blog, its filled with deals and freebies!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I heard about this on several different baby blogs. Get a sample 3 pack of free Huggies diapers! Only available is sizes newborn-2. Huggies will also send you a coupon! Go to this website to get yours: